Second XI stretch winning streak to three matches

A Ballymena batsman stubbornly defends his wicket during Saturday's clash with Muckamore.
A Ballymena batsman stubbornly defends his wicket during Saturday's clash with Muckamore.

After a nail-biter against North Down, Ballymena Seconds continued on their winning ways with two more successes in the past week.

Stephen Colgan’s side triumphed against Instonians at Eaton Park on Wednesday evening and then travelled to Muckamore on Saturday where they won by six wickets.

Alan Dunbar and James McClean wait their turn to bat for Ballymena.

Alan Dunbar and James McClean wait their turn to bat for Ballymena.

The Wednesday night game was a re-arranged fixture and therefore was played in the 20/20 format of the game.

Ballymena won the toss and asked the travelling side to bat.

After his heroics for the first XI on Saturday, young Owen Dick opened the bowling with Anthony Frazer.

Both players bowled sprightly spells, but it was Frazer who struck twice giving Ballymena a great start against a young Instonians side.

A Ballymena First XI player guides the ball through the off side during Saturday's game against Muckamore.

A Ballymena First XI player guides the ball through the off side during Saturday's game against Muckamore.

Having given up the thirds captaincy, Frazer continues to have a good season for the Second XI and is getting into a habit of taking early wickets for his side with accurate swing bowling.

After the pace men had given Ballymena a sound start, Sam Glass and Simon McDowell started to apply pressure on the Instonians batsmen.

Sam Glass, Owens partner in hitting the winning runs for the Senior team last week, bowled a fantastic short spell ending up with 1 wicket for 7 runs.

McDowell, the ex First XI captain, also enjoyed his evening taking 3 wickets for only 17 runs.

All in all Ballymena bowled and fielded well reducing Instonians to a total of 91.

In return, batsmen Phil Harshaw and Stephen Colgan came together again and they continued where they left off against North Down.

The pair put on a match winning partnership, with Harshaw making 15 and Colgan 45.

Colgan’s innings included six 4’s and was unfortunate not to make another half century.

In the 19th over, Ballymena wrapped things up with the experienced McDowell hitting the winnings runs and giving Ballymena a well-deserved second league win by six wickets.

Travelling to Muckamore Ballymena seconds won the toss and like Wednesday night, put the opposition into bat.

A trend is a trend, and opening bowler Frazer struck early again in the third and fifth overs to give the away side the perfect start.

Opening the bowling at the other end and joining the Seconds for the time this season after his GCSE’s Jonathan Brown eased in to action also taking two wickets.

Jonathan has Neil Fullerton to thank for his first wicket, taking a remarkable catch behind the stumps and he continues to be a irreplaceable asset to Colgan’s team.

Keates, the experienced Muckamore all-rounders scored a quick fire 35 to apply some resistance, however the slower bowlers in Craig, Archer, McBurney and McDowell all bowled tightly.

Craig had a better day with ball in hand, back to his best, while Ethan Archer continues to impress at Seconds level finishing with figures 6 overs, 1 for 26.

Muckamore’s innings came to end totalling 114 runs.

With Phil Harshaw on holiday, Colgan and Fullerton opened the batting.

The pair battled through some good pace from Muckamore ‘s opening bowlers but managed to see out the first ten overs without loss of wicket.

Colgan, enjoying a good run punished anything short or wide and again seem to enjoy the flatter, quicker wicket that Muckamore offered.

When Fullerton departed for a hard earned 12, Jeff Martin scored a robust 13 to keep the momentum up.

Next in was Peter Gregg, playing only in his second game of the season.

Gregg continues to be a talent the club would like to see more of if it wasn’t for work duties.

Colgan and Gregg took the game to the next level, with a fine partnership of 47. Gregg , hitting big and straight at every opportunity, finished up on 25 not out which included three 4’s and one 6.

Captain Stephen Colgan played well and reached his second half century, finishing up on 51 not out, a knock that included six 4’s and one six.

Ballymena won by six wickets and with no game next week earn a well-deserved rest.

This leaves Colgan’s side with three wins out of five so far in Junior one.